Sugarfree chewing gum relieves stress

November 13th, 2008 - 1:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 13 (IANS) A simple yet cost effective way to reduce stress or anxiety is chewing sugarfree gum, according to a study. It also showed that chewing gum increases alertness and improves performance while multi-tasking.

Andrew Scholey, professor of behavioural sciences at Swinburne University, said that studies he conducted at Northumbria University showed that chewing gum may be “associated with positive, relaxing social behaviours”.

The controlled, randomised study examined 40 people averaging 22 years while they performed on the defined intensity stressor simulation (DISS), a multi-tasking platform which reliably induces stress and measures performance.

The participants’ levels of anxiety, alertness and stress levels were measured before and after completing the DISS while chewing and not chewing sugarfree gum.

The study found that levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16 percent, according to a Swinburne release.

With an improved state of mind from chewing gum, the mean performance scores over non-gum chewers improved by a significant 67 percent during stressful situations.

Scholey said that the findings suggest that chewing gum may actually help us manage life’s daily stresses and keep us from reacting to situations like road rage or panic from looming deadlines.

The study is scheduled for publication in the Physiology and Behaviour Journal.

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